Build Your Own M1A / M14 Video Series

If one were to search for how to build up an AR-15, a veritable smorgasbord of options would present themselves after a search. Almost all the noted YouTube personalities have a how-to video. From there, there is literally thousands of others ready to assist the burgeoning smithie on their quest for Armalite Rifle nirvana.

However, outside the common Modern Sporting Rifle platform, there are few similar videos on the detailed assembly operations of other platforms, especially those that require custom fitting. Most AR’s just “bolt together”, which is still out of the reach of some assemblers.

To assist fellow enthusiasts, TonyBen3 on YouTube has put up exhaustively detailed videos on the M14 / M1A. He’s gone into incredible detail on some of the more advanced (an operation typically reserved for “gunsmiths”). But, before one can progress to locking in accuracy of their build, one must build a rifle, which is where TonyBen shines.

Note, these types of videos will not show one actually how to do various common milling, filing, or sanding operations, but they are excellent at showing one what they should be watching out for and what is considered ideal for the weapon system.

My hat’s off to him on showing the proper method to lap in a bolt and then set headspace on the weapon.


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • KestrelBike

    This is Nathaniel F’s dream come true right here.

  • Sgt. Stedenko

    Very cool videos.
    Thanks for sharing, Nathan

  • SCW

    Those Starrett No. 98 levels need to be calibrated just about every time that you use it. It should read level no matter which side is facing you.

    That’s actually how you calibrate it. You spin the level on a smooth surface until it reads level, place an angle plate next to it to mark the position, then flip it around. The bubble should read level again. If it doesn’t, you use the adjustment screw to move the cradle up or down.

    Apparently his level wasn’t calibrated correctly if he could flip it around and get different readings. They are kind of finicky to adjust and very sensitive. I think the divisions are 0.005″, so he wasn’t off by much.

  • Stephen Hubert

    I used to live less than a mile from Tony back when I was personally quite active on the ‘Modern’ M14 side of things (EBR builds, etc.) – he’s a great guy, and was always willing to help in any way possible! I’m really glad to see his videos being promoted here!

  • Red79cj5

    I had the opportunity to take one of the CMP’s advanced maintenance classes early last year and built an M1 up from parts. With the right tools it was a much more straightforward operation that I would have thought going in. Most of the tools were simple barrel vises and on hell of a receiver wrench. Mainly just attention to detail. Plus everything is easier when you have CMP’s gunsmiths looking over your shoulder.